You know the moment. You’re driving in the car and a song you haven’t heard in 10-15 years comes on the radio. Despite the time, you still sing every word of it. You remember the words, the tune, the pauses, even the drum solos. The power of music on our memory is phenomenal. That moment in and of itself, shows the importance of music education for preschoolers.
There have been many studies on the benefits of music education and the importance of music education in our schools. Despite that, this is an often overlooked and de-funded area. So how does learning music help with brain development and education? And are music lessons for toddlers important?
One of the primary areas where music helps with brain development and education is through language development. The organization, Children’s Music Workshop, claims that “recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways. Linking familiar songs to new information can also help imprint information on young minds.” Given that music strengthens and enhances the development of language skills, it follows that social skills are enhanced as well. By being able to communicate well, it makes a child more socially competent.
Music’s impact on the brain can start at the earliest of ages. Dr. Eric Rasmussen, chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory of The Johns Hopkins University, where he teaches a specialized music curriculum for children aged two months to nine years, says “there’s some good neuroscience research that children involved in music have larger growth of neural activity than people not in music training. When you’re a musician and you’re playing an instrument, you have to be using more of your brain.”
Beyond language development, music education has also been shown to have an impact on childrens’ spatial-temporal skills. This means that children with exposure to regular (at least weekly,) music education have a better aptitude for visualizing solutions to multi-step problems. This ultimately contributes to enhanced abilities in math, engineering, computers and the like.
How to Introduce Your Child to Music
So does this mean you need to sign your 2-year old up for violin lessons? Not exactly. While learning to play an instrument at a very early age can produce significant benefits, merely being exposed to music from the earliest of ages has a proven impact on development. The good news here is that you can (and should) be providing your child with exposure to music at home from the get go. Here are some very basic tips to get you started:
- Play music in the car. It does not have to be Raffi or something from Barney, it can be music you love and want to share with your child (just make sure the lyrics are G-rated). Any kind of music makes an impact, but if you can, provide variety. Classical, Pop, Classic Rock. Let your child decide what music they gravitate towards.
- Have a dance party regularly in your house. The combination of music and movement helps children to learn about control of their bodies. Move fast to fast music and more slowly to slower music. Incorporate fun props like scarves or balloons to add to the fun.
- Create your own band and play along with favorite songs. You can use kazoos or even just a wooden stick on a bowl or pan. Focusing on the rhythm as well as the melody can engage different elements of a child’s brain. And while noisy, it’s a lot of fun for everyone.
- Live music is pretty special to be able to expose children to. They are usually fascinated by the sounds, the person playing and the instruments themselves. If your house has instruments, you’re all set. If not, see if you have friends or family who may play instruments. Or look in your community for live performances that are targeted at children. Some local libraries regularly bring people in for toddler hour to play and sing songs.
Above all, have fun with music. While the benefits are clear, you don’t need to be overly serious about it. Make it enjoyable for one and all. Sing a little song, do a little dance!
Connect Your Child with Music At Celebree
As one of the “7 Domains of Learning” at Celebree Learning Centers, the arts and music play a large role in our state-approved curriculum. We know what an impact music education can have on preschoolers, and take it seriously. As a parent, you’ll receive a quarterly progress reports from your child’s teacher across all learning domains including music.
Click here to schedule a tour of your local Celebree Learning Center, and witness first-hand our approach to integrating music with education. Or if you’d prefer, give us a call at 410-515-8750.